Lok Sabha polls 2019: Election Commission bans campaigning in nine West Bengal constituencies due to violence

WION Web Team
Kolkata, West Bengal, IndiaUpdated: May 15, 2019, 08:27 PM IST

A view of three motorbikes which were set ablaze in the College Street area after TMC Chhatra Parishad activists allegedly pelted stones at Amit Shah's roadshow triggering clashes. Photograph:(IANS)

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Shah said election observers in their reports have said polls in the state cannot be conducted fairly till miscreants were arrested but the EC did not act.

Election Commission(EC) today banned campaigning in nine West Bengal constituencies in the Lok Sabha elections from 10 pm on Thursday night.

EC said the decision to cut short the campaign in West Bengal was taken after violence in the last 24 hours. No election campaigning will be held in Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, South and North Kolkata parliamentary constituencies from 10 pm tomorrow till the conclusion of polls, the EC declared.

Trinamool Congress workers and BJP workers were involved in clashes during a roadshow in BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow on Tuesday. BJP president Amit blamed the Trinamool Congress behind violence in West Bengal even as the TMC hit back at the BJP.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee attacked the BJP saying: "What does Amit Shah think of himself? Is he above everything? Is he God that no one can protest against him?" 

Clashes erupted in Iswarchandra Vidyasagar college as the institution was ransacked. 

"The Commission is deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue of Vidyasagar. It is hoped that the vandals are traced by the state administration," the election body said.

"This is probably the first time that ECI has invoked Article 324 in this manner but it may not be last in cases of repetition of lawlessness and violence which vitiate the conduct of polls in a peaceful manner," it said.

BJP president Amit Shah said BJP workers weren't behind the vandalisation of a bust of educationist and social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

The countdown of chief minister Mamata Banerjee's days in power will begin on May 23, when general election results will be declared, Shah warned. 

At a press conference a day after the violence, Shah said it would have been difficult for him to survive the attack on his convoy if the CRPF personnel weren't present.

"I want to tell the Election Commission that it has become a mute spectator to attempts to rig polls in West Bengal. It should immediately intervene. History-sheeters...Are arrested during elections across the country. In Bengal, they are released after furnishing a bond. What is this double standards from the EC? Why is it silent," he said.

Shah said election observers in their reports have said polls in the state cannot be conducted fairly till such miscreants are arrested but the EC did not act. It raises a lot of questions on the election watchdog's impartiality, he said.